BC Housing said renovations at Cariboo Sunset Manor are progressing on time and will improve the aging facility as well as safety and security after some residents voiced their concerns over ongoing construction.
In an article published in the Jan. 19, 2023 edition of the Tribune, three tenants detailed issues with dust, clutter in hallways, project management and its pace.
Upgrades include the installation of new windows, new exterior siding, exterior doors, a new fire alarm system, and electrical and HVAC system upgrades among other things.
The subsidized housing facility is wrapped in scaffolding, tarps and plastic mesh, blocking much of the light to the units and residents have no access to their balconies.
Residents of suites are relocated for over two weeks to either a hotel or a what is called a respite suite while their units are worked on but some aspects of the work cannot be completed in this time frame meaning many were unable to fully unpack after returning.
BC Housing said residents were informed of the plans and were told some work would have to be completed after residents returned to their homes.
At the time of a visit by Black Press Media, residents pointed out construction materials cluttering hallways, and dust on surfaces in their units but BC Housing said there are cleanliness protocols in place.
“Although we do everything we can to reduce the impact to residents during any construction, we also know this work is disruptive. That’s why we work with trusted and vetted contractors, like New City Construction, whenever possible,” stated BC Housing.
Smoke detectors in some suites hung from the ceiling uninstalled, but BC Housing said the building’s previous fire alarm system remains in place until the new system is completed. They also said there is a 24-hour fire watch supervision until the new system is fully up and running.
City of Williams Lake Building Inspector Reiner Nikolai said he attended the building for a fire safety inspection after reading residents’ concerns in the Jan. 19 article. He said he had been doing fire safety inspections since the project began.
“We take safety very seriously,” he said, noting he can not enter individual suites unless invited in by residents, but he is happy to attend if contacted.
Nikolai said he has been to the building a number of times throughout the project and has not found anything against the B.C. Building Code rules on construction site safety standards, but he can not speak to when he’s not there.
He encourages residents to call him if they do see issues or have concerns so he can attend and find a solution for both parties.
“I’m always happy to talk,” he said, noting the upgrades to the building will be a big improvement in efficiency, accessibility and safety for residents, though he understands the work can pose challenges for residents and should be done with safety in mind.
Nikolai can be reached at 250-392-8488 Monday through Friday.
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